FARGO — Minnesota’s walleye opener is like a holiday to many anglers.
This year seems a little different to Gary Gould.
“Lot of people come in here and say, ‘We just want to go somewhere, we just want to fish,'” Gould said.
He has plenty of experience when it comes to the fishing opener.
Gould opened up his bait store, Fargo Bait and Tackle, in 1977 on the front porch of his house.
It’s been 43 years since, and the shop has moved to the garage behind the house, where his family still runs it every day.
“It was slow. Sometimes we’d have 4 or 5 people in a day, or sometimes not many more than that in a week,” Gould said. “It just graduated by word of mouth.”
The store has been part of his love for fishing, which started when he was a child in Moorhead.
“I used to ride on my brother’s bike on the handlebars and we’d go fishing,” he recalled. “Somebody was always going fishing, and I was going along.”
This is usually the time of year where his store sees a lot of business as fishers get prepared for the big day.
2020 is no exception, even with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Gould, he’s seen more new customers in his store this year. People who are tired of staying inside and want to give fishing a try.
“Some say they’ve been confined for five weeks,” Gould said. “To hear them talk you’d think they’d been locked up for a year already, five weeks is like a year.”
Fargo Bait and Tackle will only allow a few customers in at a time to help with social distancing, however the store is still helping anyone get a fishing license in North Dakota.
“Where before, people would get a license and head out the door,” Gould said. “The weather’s been so nice people come in, get a license, and say, ‘As long as I’m here I might as well grab a box of crawlers and head down to the river.'”
Gould has seen the joy that fishing can bring to someone in a normal time.
Now in the middle of a pandemic, he believes getting out on the water will be the perfect place for anyone to get away from the issues still being faced.
“Seeing that bobber run down the river, it’s kind of fun,” Gould said.